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February 8, 2010

Stan the Stat Geek

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 4:15 am

It wasn’t exactly a secret, but the Orlando Sentinel pulled back the curtain last week to reveal Magic coach Stan Van Gundy‘s fondness for statistical analysis. This quote could easily be pulled from a Basketball Prospectus column:

“Your gut is one thing, but I think you need to check and see if your gut is correct,” Van Gundy says. “I’ve had people say, ‘I don’t need to check the numbers. I’ve seen it with my eyes.’ Well, I would also say your eyes lie to you sometimes, and some of the guys you may really like and think are really doing things, when you get deeper into it, aren’t or vice versa.”

Van Gundy has plenty of influences supporting his interest in statistics. His brother Jeff was known to use the numbers as a head coach and their mentor Pat Riley is also open to statistical analysis.

While Orlando does not employ an outside consultant, according to the article, Magic scouting information manager Charles Klask is responsible for a lot of the analytics work that Van Gundy uses.

Also worth noting: the positive nature of the quotes from the Orlando players interviewed in the article about Van Gundy’s use of statistics. That’s not entirely typical, although if coaching staffs do a good job of presenting numbers in context to make a point, players can often be receptive.

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